Coun­cils urged to come up with peo­ple-cen­tred bud­gets

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Aux­ilia Ka­ton­go­mara Chron­i­cle Reporter

RU­RAL Dis­trict Coun­cils (RDCs) have been chal­lenged to come up with in­clu­sive bud­gets that are peo­ple-cen­tred to en­sure the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try.

The Min­is­ter of Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, Pro­mo­tion and Preser­va­tion of Na­tional Cul­ture and Her­itage, Cde Abe­dinico Ncube, said peo­ple must be en­gaged on mat­ters that con­cern their liveli­hoods.

Speak­ing at a two-day 2017 bud­get sem­i­nar for all RDCs in the coun­try in Bu­l­awayo yes­ter­day, Cde Ncube said cit­i­zen en­gage­ment was key to de­vel­op­ment.

“As you are aware, the Gov­ern­ment is spear­head­ing a more in­clu­sive ap­proach to­wards cit­i­zen en­gage­ment through var­i­ous so­cial ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nisms. You will agree that peo­ple cen­tered bud­gets are the cor­ner­stone to lo­cal eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” said Cde Ncube. “Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties must in­no­va­tively en­gage cit­i­zens on mat­ters that con­cern the cit­i­zen liveli­hoods. Bud­get con­sul­ta­tions meet­ings are one of the many ways to en­gage with res­i­dents.”

The Min­is­ter said par­tic­i­pa­tory gov­er­nance is the way to im­proved and sus­tain­able ser­vice de­liv­ery as it af­fords cit­i­zens an op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in de­ci­sion mak­ing on mat­ters that af­fect them.

He said he was aware that there are some lo­cal au­thor­i­ties that were not tak­ing cit­i­zen en­gage­ment se­ri­ously.

Such lo­cal au­thor­i­ties only en­gaged res­i­dents dur­ing bud­get con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings so as to get suf­fi­cient sig­na­tures for their es­ti­mates of ex­pen­di­ture to be ap­proved. Cde Ncube warned such lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

“That er­ro­neous form of ad­min­is­tra­tion must stop forth­with. My Min­istry will en­sure that rou­tine mon­i­tor­ing ex­er­cises take on board mat­ters rel­e­vant to cit­i­zen en­gage­ment and par­tic­i­pa­tion,” he said.

“I am con­fi­dent that no Ru­ral Dis­trict Coun­cil shall be found want­ing on this front”.

He said the 2017 bud­gets for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties’ must be crafted in a man­ner that fully ad­dresses the as­pi­ra­tions , goals and ob­jec­tives of Zim-As­set and the Ten Point Plan.

“My Min­istry con­tin­ues to im­press upon Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties to en­sure that all bud­gets re­flect the 30:70 re­cur­rent to cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture ra­tio with­out fail. This is in­tended to en­sure that coun­cils fo­cus more on their core busi­ness of ser­vice de­liv­ery,” said Cde Ncube.

He said the 2017 bud­gets must take into ac­count the im­por­tance of cul­tural and food se­cu­rity mat­ters as well as com­mit­ments in gen­der is­sues.

The Prin­ci­pal Di­rec­tor in the Min­istry of Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, Pro­mo­tion and Preser­va­tion of Na­tional Cul­ture and Her­itage, Mr Christo­pher Shumba, said ru­ral lo­cal au­thor­i­ties spend more money on salaries than on ser­vice de­liv­ery, a sit­u­a­tion that must be ur­gently cor­rected.

The sem­i­nar, be­ing at­tended by chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cers and fi­nance of­fi­cers drawn from the coun­try’s 10 ru­ral dis­trict coun­cils, ends today.

Dr Misheck Sibanda

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